News / Asia

US Satisfied With UN Statement on S. Korea Ship Sinking

In this April 24, 2010 file photo, a giant offshore crane salvages the bow section of the South Korean naval ship Cheonan
In this April 24, 2010 file photo, a giant offshore crane salvages the bow section of the South Korean naval ship Cheonan

The State Department Friday expressed satisfaction with a U.N. Security Council statement condemning the sinking of a South Korean warship in March, though it stops short of directly blaming North Korea for the attack. A spokesman called North Korean claims of victory on the issue overblown rhetoric.

Officials here say the statement achieved the aims of the United States and its ally South Korea, and they are dismissing a claim by North Korea's U.N. ambassador that the outcome was a diplomatic victory for Pyongyang.

The product of weeks of diplomatic negotiations, the statement was approved unanimously by the Security Council Friday.

It condemned the March 26 sinking of the South Korean navy ship the Cheonan, while expressing deep concern over the findings of a South Korean-led inquiry that the ship was sunk by a North Korean torpedo.

The careful wording of the statement is seen as a concession to China, North Korea's neighbor and main benefactor.

But in a talk with reporters, State Department Acting Spokesman Mark Toner declined to criticize the Chinese role in the U.N. diplomacy, saying the  United States is happy the Security Council spoke with one voice.

Toner called it a strong statement and that the message to North Korea is clear.

"It accomplishes our goals along with the Republic of Korea and our partners in the council," he said. "It provides a unanimous condemnation of the attack. It legitimizes the findings of the joint civilian-military investigation group, and their finding of North Korean responsibility. It also praises the Republic of Korea for their restraint in handling the incident."

Asked about the North Korean assertion of a diplomatic victory in the U.N. deliberations, Toner said he would not react to what he termed overblown rhetoric.

He declined to discuss any possible follow-on action on the Cheonan incident, saying it is time for North Korea to, in his words, absorb the magnitude of its actions.

The White House said the U.N. statement constitutes an endorsement of the findings of the South Korean-led investigation, and warns Pyongyang that the world community will not tolerate such aggressive behavior against South Korea.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a written statement she will visit Seoul later this month for futher consultation.

On another issue, the State Department said a diplomat from Sweden, which represents U.S. interests in North Korea, was allowed on Friday to visit a U.S. citizen jailed in North Korea who reportedly tried to commit suicide.

Spokesman Toner said the consular visit to the American, Aijalon Mahli Gomes, came at the request of North Korea, but citing privacy considerations he gave no details of Gomes' condition or where the visit took place.

Gomes was sentenced to eight years hard labor in April after being found guilty of illegally entering the country last January.

The official North Korean news agency said he tried to kill himself over feelings of guilt, and despair that the United States has not tried to gain his freedom.

Spokesman Toner said the United States is concerned about Gomes' welfare and reiterated a call for his immediate release on humanitarian grounds.

You May Like

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs